CFP Rankings: Breaking Down Week 4

    E-mail Pete FiutakFollow me … don’t cost nothin’ @PeteFiutak 1. Alabama gets the No. 1 spot?Let’s start out with this – it’s not fair. It’s not fair that

    November 18, 2014

    E-mail Pete Fiutak
    Follow me … don’t cost nothin’ @PeteFiutak

    1. Alabama gets the No. 1 spot?
    Let’s start out with this – it’s not fair. 

    It’s not fair that Texas A&M, Arkansas and LSU aren’t in the top 25, because those three teams all lost to the top teams in college football. The cannibalization of the SEC West actually hurts the technical argument when it comes to which teams have the best resume, but the College Football Playoff committee can’t have it both ways. You can’t make a case that Team X deserves a certain ranking because of the number of top 25 teams it has beaten – like was done last week when the pro-TCU argument included a win over No. 25 Minnesota – and then not make a big deal out of wins over teams that aren’t ranked. In the new College Football Playoff world, either you’re in or you’re out. You’re ranked or you aren’t. So no, it’s not fair, and it’s not right, but based on the ranking that just came out, technically, Oregon should probably be No. 1, even though Arkansas, Texas A&M and LSU should all be ranked, and Alabama should have four wins over ranked teams. But more on that in a moment. 

    On the surface, of course Alabama should be No. 1. After all, it beat the No. 1 team in the country – Mississippi State – and it’s Alabama. It’s probably the most talented team in America and everyone is assuming it should be on top. One problem though – with the way the current rankings are, where are the big wins? At the moment, the Crimson Tide have exactly one win over a Top 25 team while Oregon has three – No. 9 UCLA on the road, No. 11 Michigan State, and No. 17 Utah. Oregon’s loss to No. 15 Arizona – even though it was at home – wasn’t appreciably worse than Alabama’s road loss to No. 8 Ole Miss, especially considering the Rebels lost to a now-unranked LSU team as well as Auburn. Which leads to … 

    2. Mississippi State at No. 4?
    Again, it’s not fair. The Bulldogs have wins over an LSU team that technically deserves to be in the top 25, a Texas A&M that also technically deserves to be in the top 25, and No. 14 Auburn. The only Bulldog loss came to now No. 1 Alabama, but considering it only has one win over a top 25 team, it has to be behind FSU, and probably below TCU. 

    3. Where is all the TCU love coming from?
    The committee had the perfect out for its controversial decision of putting TCU ahead of Baylor last week – ranking the Horned Frogs fourth and Baylor seventh – after it took everything in the bag to beat a miserable Kansas team 34-30, but it was only a one spot drop. Granted, there are no points for fifth place in this race, and the drop was a big deal, it wasn’t that much of a punishment for a win over a three-win team. 

    However, a reasonable case could be made that TCU not only shouldn’t have dropped, but it should be ahead of Mississippi State. The Horned Frogs have wins over now No. 21 Oklahoma, No. 25 Minnesota, and No. 12 Kansas State, but is that really worthy of being ahead of an Ohio State team that’s playing at a higher level right now? Granted, the Buckeye loss to Virginia Tech continues to be an anchor, compared to TCU’s loss to No. 7 Baylor, but the OSU wins over No. 11 Michigan State and No. 25 Minnesota aren’t quite enough to get into the top five quite yet. 

    4. Florida State at No. 3?
    Okay, it’s undefeated. With Notre Dame losing to Northwestern, the Seminoles’ wins over top 25 teams came against No. 22 Clemson and No. 24 Louisville – neither one of those teams has done anything to earn a top 25 spot. The schedule hasn’t been strong enough quite yet to demand a top three spot, but again, being the lone undefeated Power 5 team should matter. 

    5. No. 12 Kansas State can’t be ahead of No. 14 Auburn
    The brains of those outside of the SEC tends to melt at the thought of mega-loss Arkansas or Texas A&M teams belonging in the top 25, much less the top 15, however, the Hogs’ losses came against Texas A&M – who should be ranked – No. 14 Auburn, No. 10 Georgia, No. 4 Mississippi State, and No. 1 Alabama. Meanwhile, A&M’s four losses came to No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Mississippi State, No. 10 Ole Miss and No. 20 Missouri, while it has a win over Arkansas and No. 14 Auburn – it has as many wins over top 25 teams as Mississippi State and Alabama. 

    So if you’re really going to do this right, Texas A&M should be ranked ahead of Auburn, who should be ranked ahead of Kansas State, who should be ranked ahead of Arkansas, who should be ranked ahead of LSU, who should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin. 

    6. Oklahoma should probably be higher
    OU’s problem is that all of its strong wins – Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas – came against teams that probably deserve the No. 25 spot over Minnesota. The three losses came to No. 5 TCU, No. 7 Baylor and No. 12 Kansas State, but with Kansas and Oklahoma State to finish, there’s no real room to move up. 

    7. At the moment, if done absolutely as correctly as possible based on what has happened so far, the rankings on Nov. 18 should be … 

    1. Oregon (CFP: No. 3)
    2. Florida State (CFP: No. 3)
    3. Alabama (CFP: No. 1)
    4. TCU (CFP: No. 5)
    5. Mississippi State (CFP: No. 4)
    6. Ohio State (CFP: No. 6)
    7. Michigan State (CFP: No. 11)
    8. Baylor (CFP: No. 7)
    9. UCLA (CFP: No. 9)
    10. Arizona (CFP: No. 14)
    11. Ole Miss (CFP: No. 8)
    12. Georgia (CFP: No. 10) 
    13. Missouri (CFP: No. 20) 
    14. Texas A&M (CFP: Not Ranked) 
    15. Auburn (CFP: No. 14)
    16. Kansas State (CFP: No. 12)
    17. Arizona State (CFP: No. 13)
    18. Oklahoma (CFP: No. 21)
    19. Arkansas (CFP: Not Ranked)
    20. LSU (CFP: No. Not Ranked)
    21. Wisconsin (CFP: 16)
    22. Nebraska (CFP: No. 23)
    23. Georgia Tech (CFP: No. 18)
    24. Utah (CFP: No. 17)
    25. USC (CFP: No. 19)

    1. Alabama Last Week 5 
    2. Oregon Last Week 2 
    3. Florida State Last Week 3
    4. Mississippi State Last Week 1 
    5. TCU Last Week 4
    6. Ohio State Last Week 8
    7. Baylor Last Week 7 
    8. Ole Miss Last Week 10
    9. UCLA Last Week 11
    10. Georgia Last Week 15
    11. Michigan State Last Week 12 
    12. Kansas State Last Week 13 
    13. Arizona State Last Week 6
    14. Auburn Last Week 9 
    15. Arizona Last Week 14 
    16. Wisconsin Last Week 20
    17. Utah Last Week 23
    18. Georgia Tech Last Week 23
    19. USC Last Week Not Ranked 
    20. Missouri Last Week 20
    21. Oklahoma Last Week Not Ranked
    22. Clemson Last Week 19
    23. Nebraska Last Week 16
    24. Louisville Last Week Not Ranked 
    25. Minnesota Last Week 25

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